From a single vineyard in the north west (White Rock). Predominantly whole berry, 5% whole bunch, natural yeast, held on skins for 18 days. Pressed to and matured in oak (5% new). Bottled unfined and unfiltered.
Dornfelder is a little known german hybrid. It was built for cool climates. Dornfelder was created in 1956 at the Weinsberg Research Center in Baden-Württemberg by German grape breeder August Herold. It received varietal protection in 1979 (coincidentally the same year I was born). It is named after a Immanuel Dornfeld (1796-1869) a senior civil servant who was instrumental in creating the viticultural school in Weinsberg.
It is a cross between Helfensteiner and Heroldrebe, which are themselves both crossings. Helfensteiner a crossing of Frühburgunder and Trollinger. And Heroldrebe is a cross between Portugieser and Lemberger. Dornfelder’s lineage therefore includes most German red grape varieties.
Phil Dolan decided to plant it at White Rock in the Northwest of Tasmania as an alternative red variety to Pinot noir. He produced the first commercial wine from Dornfelder in Australia in 2015, and luckily for us his first passion is growing grapes so he’s happy to sell us the results of his hard toil.
For 2019 we explored what the grape was capable of producing by doing various small treatments. We tried a barrel of saignee style rose. The colour picked up in the hour after destemming was too intense to use as rose but the aromatics were great. We did a ten day whole bunch carbonic ferment. A funky outcome that formed the basis of our Solstice. We also tried a partial whole bunch ferment alongside a warm whole berry ferment and a cool whole berry ferment. These three ferments were pressed to predominantly older oak of various sizes, with a new barrel trialled.
We’ll leave it to others to decide if it all worked, but we can say that the aromatics and flavours are straight from the text books. A really interesting wine and one we look forward to making in the coming years.